Renewable Energy in Pennsylvania [2024 Guide]

  • Feb 1, 2024

Pennsylvania, rich in both history and natural resources, is becoming a beacon of transformation in the renewable energy sector. As one of the top energy-producing states in the U.S., Pennsylvania has a significant role to play in the nation's energy future. This role is cemented by the state's Pennsylvania Climate Action Plan 2021, which lays out an aggressive yet necessary strategy for combating climate change through greenhouse gas reduction. Aiming for a 26% reduction by 2025 and a staggering 80% by 2050, compared to 2005 levels, the goals are both ambitious and urgent. The critical component to achieving these targets is a significant shift towards renewable energy, an area where Pennsylvania is positioning itself as a front-runner in the Northeast.

Benefits of Renewable Energy in Pennsylvania

Transitioning towards renewable energy ushers in a multitude of benefits for the Keystone State. Starting with the environment, the shift to renewables will substantially reduce greenhouse gas emissions, a critical element in the battle against global warming and climate change. The state's commitment to renewable energy is directly linked to its Climate Action Plan, marking a crucial step towards a more sustainable and resilient future.

Beyond the clear environmental benefits, the move towards renewable energy also has significant economic implications and health implications. By reducing reliance on fossil fuels, the state can expect to see an improvement in air and water quality. This cleaner environment could potentially lead to a decrease in health issues associated with pollution, such as respiratory diseases and cardiovascular conditions. Therefore, the pivot towards renewable energy isn't just a financial or environmental choice—it's a public health decision as well.


Pennsylvania Energy Mix: How Much is Renewable?

A thorough understanding of Pennsylvania's current energy mix is essential to grasping the significance of the state's renewable energy goals. As of 2021, clean energy sources like wind and solar account for 2% of Pennsylvania's net electricity generation, according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA). This number is on the rise, with wind and solar power playing increasingly integral roles in the state's renewable energy output.

The state's progress in this domain is evident in its statistics – for example, solar energy capacity has crossed the 700 MW threshold. As the state continues to invest in renewable energy infrastructure and policy, these numbers are expected to climb, reaffirming Pennsylvania's commitment to a greener future.

Graphic comparing the typical energy mix in Pennsylvania to the mix from CleanChoice Energy. The typical energy mix is 2% clean, while CleanChoice Energy offers 100% clean energy.

Pennsylvania Renewable Energy Goals

Pennsylvania's commitment to renewable energy is embedded in its ambitious goals. The Climate Action Plan 2021 sets forth a vision for significant greenhouse gas reductions, achievable primarily through the shift towards renewable energy. These targets are reinforced by legislation and programs such as the Pennsylvania Climate Change Act of 2008 and Act 129’s Energy Efficiency and Conservation Program. The combination of statewide plans, legislative support, and specific programs demonstrates Pennsylvania's comprehensive approach towards renewable energy.

However, setting targets is only part of the equation. The real challenge lies in the implementation. Pennsylvania's plan is practical, banking on gradual transition rather than abrupt change. By steadily increasing renewable energy capacity and efficiency while encouraging individual and corporate adoption through incentives, the state is forging a feasible path towards its renewable energy future.


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Sun rising over solar panels in a solar farm in Pennsylvania

Average Electric Bill in Pennsylvania

Given that the average Pennsylvania resident spends around $215 per month on electricity (as of February 2024), any reduction in energy costs would provide considerable relief for households across the state.

The shift towards renewable energy promises a positive impact on these electric bills. Renewable sources like wind and solar power are becoming more cost-effective, primarily due to technological advancements and economies of scale. By increasing the share of renewable energy in the state's energy mix, Pennsylvania can gradually reduce electricity costs for consumers, leading to savings on electric bills in the long term.

Moreover, the adoption of renewable energy sources like solar power at the individual level can also lead to direct savings. Households with solar panels, for instance, can generate their own electricity and even sell surplus power back to the grid, effectively reducing or even eliminating their electric bills.


Pennsylvania Renewable Energy Incentives

To promote the adoption of renewable energy, a range of incentives at both the federal and state levels are available. At the federal level, the solar tax credit (ITC) allows solar system owners to deduct 26% of the cost of installing a solar system from their federal taxes. This substantial incentive is a significant driver for solar adoption across the country, including in Pennsylvania.

The state government has implemented several initiatives and incentives to foster the adoption of solar power. A notable program is the Solar Renewable Energy Certificates (SRECs) program, which offers financial rewards to individuals and businesses that generate solar power. The state's net metering policy also encourages solar adoption, allowing solar system owners to sell excess electricity back to the grid. These efforts reflect Pennsylvania's commitment to creating a solar-friendly environment that cultivates growth and innovation.

Initiatives like the Pennsylvania Sunshine Solar Rebate Program provide financial incentives for solar installations. Furthermore, the state also offers a weatherization assistance program and the Homeowners Energy Efficiency Loan Program (HEELP) to help low-income households improve their energy efficiency.


How You Can Choose Renewable Energy in Pennsylvania

CleanChoice Energy is a renewable energy supplier offering services to customers in Pennsylvania. By choosing CleanChoice Energy as their electricity supplier, customers in Duquesne Light, Met-Ed, PECO, Penelec, Penn Power, PPL, and West Penn Power territories in Pennsylvania can play a role in reducing our collective dependence on traditional, non-renewable energy sources. CleanChoice Energy is dedicated to making the switch to clean, pollution-free energy easy and accessible for customers in Pennsylvania. Learn more about how easy it is to choose cleaner energy today and be a part of Pennsylvania’s green revolution.


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¹Typical default utility energy mix for customers in PA. Source: www.eia.gov, 2021 "Electric power industry generation by primary energy source." CleanChoice Energy has high standards for defining "clean" energy. While nuclear and hydro do not emit greenhouse gasses, generation from these sources have other negative environmental consequences.


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